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Aug X Labs has raised $1 million in seed funding to use AI to democratize video creation by content creators.
The New York company is building an AI-based visual storytelling platform that automatically transforms text or audio prompts into purpose-driven videos that catch your attention. The platform, in a limited alpha today, is aimed at any business or creative professional who uses video for creating ads, product demos, sizzle reels, company update videos, and any other form of visual storytelling.
The company wants its product to be used by small businesses, advertisers, marketers, podcasters, and other independent content creators to achieve their video-driven goals cheaper, faster, and easier.
Aug X Labs created the video embedded in this post about the GamesBeat Summit Next event in about 10 minutes, starting with just a prompt. You can basically collect media and text, run it through the engine, and then get a short video that pulls it all together. The product is in its alpha stage now.
Aug X Labs is founded by serial entrepreneur Jeremy Toeman (CEO), along with Scott Havird (CTO) and JT White (chief product officer and chief of staff).
Toeman said in an interview that the idea blossomed after working on a lot of cool AI tech for video processing.
“I started realizing that I actually don’t know how to make videos beyond recording some silly thing on my phone or webcam. But if I actually wanted to add special effects or anything cooler than that, I couldn’t,” Toeman said. “And so I started doing this self-paced tutorial in middle of the pandemic. It’s become clear that the process of video creation is very, very time-consuming and difficult for most people.”
The company’s platform allows users to automatically augment their video creations using open or licensed media (photos, short clips, etc), generative media (AI Art), and owned media. Aug X Labs is also integrated with Unsplash, the preeminent free-image platform for global creators, allowing users to add professional-quality content to their videos.
It’s also supporting generative AI art, which has exploded this year. StabilityAI’s Stable Diffusion text-to-
image model using API wrappers. The combination of leveraging existing media with generative content enables storytellers to create powerful visuals without the overhead of learning complicated technology.
Rivals include TikTok and YouTube, as well as lesser-known tools for professional video creators. The AugX tool has ways to quickly change videos if you want to move things around or rearrange them. It’s ideal for creating videos that are around 30 seconds to a minute or so. Instead of taking many hours to do that, now it can be done in an hour or less.
Toeman doesn’t think this will put video editors out of jobs.
“For video creators, we let them create the same thing that professionals are doing, but getting rid of th boring parts of the job,” Toeman said.
He noted that video tools like Final Cut Pro aren’t really as accessible as they could be for the masses. Toeman and Havird founded the company in January and started building the platform.
“The idea we had even at the time was someone should be able to give us a prompt that can be written words like a transcript or marketing materials or conference brochure or any kind of written starting point,” Toeman said. “Or audio, podcasts, a lecture, or another video. And we should make something creative. That’s what we’ve been pursuing.”
Yohei Nakajima, CEO of Untappd.VC and investor in Aug X Labs, said in astatement, “The explosion of AI-
created generative media and ‘prompt-to-video’ renderers will only increase the need for products and services that can easily create dynamic, engaging content to inform communities and attract users. I’m very excited about the work Jeremy and his team are doing and can’t wait for them to share it.”
Aug X Labs conducts team scrimmages as a way to rapidly test skills across engineering, product, design, and marketing. The company’s first scrimmage resulted in Moviedle, which was a successful product and learning experience. Moviedle has served over six million unique players, and resulted in a partnership with content-recommendation company, LikewiseTV. The company went on to create several additional daily online games under the 12:01 Games umbrella.
The company’s most recent scrimmage resulted in PromptLocker. The site lets users upload, save, and build an AI Art Library. PromptLocker also includes a system to rank and get feedback on existing images and prompts from Stable Diffusion, Midjourney, Craiyon, and other AI-based generative art platforms.
Aug X Labs initial investors and advisers include Yohei Nakajima (Untappd.VC), Noah Gale (Co-Founder, Tribe AI), Marc Whitten (SVP & GM, Create @ Unity), Alanna Gregory (Crosscut VC), David Beck (Brightcove), Ben Parr (Octane.AI), Rahim Fazal (CEO of SV Academy/x-Oracle), Jesse Redniss (Qonsent), Avner Ronen (founder, Boxee), Kevin Conroy, Rob Hoffer, Ryan Bricklemyer, Deep Banerji, Scott Ryan and others.
The company’s product will be fully launched later this year as it enters a public beta.
Toeman is a serial entrepreneur, senior executive, and established inventor in the video space for more than two decades. His experience of building transformational products includes the HP Digital Media Receiver (first ever streaming media device), the Slingbox, NextGuide (first TV Guide app to include live + streaming together), Germany’s Joyn streaming service, and multiple AI-first products at WarnerMedia.
Havird has 15 years of experience as a principal architect and lead engineer with companies such as RaceTrac, Turner Broadcasting, and WarnerMedia. White is a seasoned product leader in the TV and media industry, with over 15 years experience developing new businesses, launching products, and building successful teams and unique cultures. The team has 10 people.
“If you think about how Canva democratized image creation, we want to do the same thing for video,” Toeman said. “Granted, we’re not making Marvel movies, right? But if I want to make a quick explainer video, or tutorial, or a demonstration, that should be in my grasp. In this era of the internet, if I can write a prompt, and get Stable Diffusion to generate an image in 20 seconds, why can’t I make a whole video?”
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